Signing the world’s most expensive player is a clear intention that a club wants to win the best trophies on offer.
Real Madrid’s £86m summer capture of Gareth Bale shocked the sporting world and sent a message to last season’s Champions League winners, Bayern Munich.
That message read: ‘We want your trophy’.
Carlo Ancelloti already had an abundance of talent available to him at the Bernabeu, but with the addition of Bale, the Spanish club further possess a star-studded squad that oozes with attacking prowess.
However, it’s been more than a decade since the club last lifted the highly desired European trophy and the fans are growing restless as the hunt for continental dominance drags on.
But with the signing of the Welsh international, will this season be the year they finally end their European drought? Unfortunately for the ‘royal club’, a team’s strengths are often outweighed by their flaws and those problems begin in defence.
Madrid have all the firepower a top football team could want, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema scoring goals left, right and centre. However, they find themselves constantly under pressure to outscore their opponents, with the club’s back line leaking goals far too often.
In this season’s Champions League, the current holders from Germany’s capital city Munich, have averaged 0.33 goals against per game, which is matched by Madrid’s La Liga rivals Barcelona.
Compare that to the 0.67 goals that Ancelloti’s team have averaged and the cracks start to appear in a Madrid side that look like the real deal from the team sheet.
The struggle in defence doesn’t stop there. The club from the Spanish capital have also let in double as many goals in league competition, compared to their archenemies from Catalonia and German opponents from the Allianz Arena.
In fact, Madrid have conceded more than a goal a game on average (1.33) throughout their latest La Liga campaign, compared to the 0.58 of Barcelona and 0.64 that Munich have tallied.
The statistic that swings in Madrid’s favour is the amount of goals they tend to score (12), with them doubling the total of goals Barcelona have scored in this season’s European competition (6) and sitting one goal ahead of Munich in the rankings (11).
Unfortunately for Madird, as Chelsea have shown in previous European victories, solid defending can often be the platform for beating teams that overflow with attacking talent, with their victories over Barcelona and Bayern Munich in 2012, being prime examples of this.
Although there are no certainties in football, it looks as though Madrid’s tendency to concede more goals at the back may be their stumbling block. There is no doubting the talent they have in attack, but the Madrid defence puts the team in jail far too often.
Sadly, the 24-year-old who signed from Tottenham can only ‘Bale’ them out so many times before the Madrid side have to surrender and face ‘Real-ity’.
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